Specific requirements for a psychology degree depend on the university, but the American Psychological Association, or APA, has published guidelines that outline the topics required for a psychology major. Areas of focus include critical thinking, social responsibility and communication skills. Schools should design a major with classes that cover the APA topics.
The APA guidelines can be divided into five key learning outcomes, as described by Fort Lewis College. Outcome 1 is for students to show that they have fundamental knowledge of psychological principles, which are typically found in foundation courses. Outcome 2 focuses on the development of scientific reasoning and critical thinking in psychology. From there, students develop outcome 3, which is developing professional behavior that is ethically and socially responsible. Outcome 4 focuses on the development of communication skills, both in writing and in speaking. The fifth outcome focuses on how to apply psychology-specific skills in a professional setting.
One example of specific requirements for a psychology degree can be found at Rutgers University, as of 2015. The major requires that a student take General Psychology, Quantitative Methods and a Psychology Lab course before declaring the major. After these classes, a student must take four core courses in a sub-discipline, such as clinical psychology or social psychology. In addition, a student must take five psychology electives, one 400-level elective and a math course.